iPad on steroids? ASUS Eee Slate EP121 review

If the iPad was pumped full of growth hormones and protein shakes the EP121 would be the result. Looking eerily similar to Apple’s wonder slate but substantially heavier and larger it’s actually a Windows PC in disguise.

Let’s take a look at the goodies ASUS has managed to squeeze into this product’s tiny 17mm depth.

At 12.1in across the diagonal the 1280 x 800 touchscreen might not sound like much but it’s crystal clear with excellent colour reproduction and contrast. A wide viewing angle makes it perfect for lunch-time presentations and it’s more than bright enough for outdoor use.

The touchscreen is extremely accurate and very usable without a stylus while typing on the pop-up touch keyboard is a breeze. This virtual keyboard can’t be resized though so can sometimes obscure the application you’re working in. A wireless keyboard is included for those who prefer to hear their keys clacking. The screen is accompanied by a speaker on each side and they’re easily audible over the hubbub of a busy office or cafe.

Packing Windows 7 the internal hardware needs to be zippy enough to handle Aero’s demanding requirements. The components are up to the task with an Intel i5 470um CPU accompanied by 2GB of DDR3.

During our hands-on testing applications were very responsive but doubling the memory to the optional 4GB is recommended given Windows 7’s memory-heavy footprint.

Unlike the iPad’s exceptional 10-hour battery life the EP121 will need a top-up after around four hours of standard use. Play movies continuously and this drops to just two. Users looking for an extremely mobile solution might also find the 1.16kg weight a little tiring to carry all day.

If you’re looking for a slate that runs Windows and is adept at presentations in less than ideal conditions this is what you want.

Available from ASUS retailing for $1499.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)